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Grilled 4 Murder–not up to par
Grilled 4 Murder
by J.C. Eaton
The husband and wife team known as J.C. Eaton have written several cozy mystery series. I have read, enjoyed, and recommend two of the series: The Wine Trail Mysteries and The Sophie Kimball Mysteries (of which this book is a part). I had been looking forward to reading Grilled 4 Murder. As it turns out, some of the standbys of character, humor, and plot in this series fell flat in Grilled 4 Murder.
On a positive note, the authors immediately bring returning and new readers up to date on the main characters. Phee, the accountant for Williams Investigations, has gotten married to Marshall, a detective in the small company. Her mother Harriet and the book club ladies are seniors who are always ready for shenanigans and go gung ho in protest of a garbage transfer station in Sun City West, home to many snowbirds. Herb and his pinochle playing buddies are competing in a BBQ grill-off, and Harriet’s dog Streetman has adopted a kitten. And by the way, there is a murder with all the expected potential motives for the suspects.
It feels like the murder takes a back seat to the hubbub of the other plot threads that seem very much like distractions. Those diversions felt dull to me. Harriet and Streetman are usually funny, but I found them irritating in this book. Harriet’s friends typically provide comic relief, but the seniors in Sun City West seemed more like a chorus in a Greek tragedy. The two local detectives were depicted as bumbling fools, but they really were on the case and interacted professionally with the P. I.’s of Williams Investigations despite having to follow the required procedures for law enforcement officers.
The thing that bothered me the most about this cozy mystery was the food. A lot of the word count was consumed with descriptions for each meal for every day. In addition to breakfast, there was a break each morning for more cups of coffee and bakery goods. It seemed important to the authors for the reader to know the lunch selections either in a restaurant or brought to the office as takeout. Although they usually dined out in the evenings, there were occasional dinners at home before Marshall and Phee dropped into bed with exhaustion. The reader was “treated” to detailed descriptions of all of these meals.
The day was also interrupted by frequent phone calls from Harriet to Phee. They could have been funny, but they weren’t. Having read ten good books in this series, I will stick around for the eleventh having high hopes for a return to a solid plot and humor that is actually amusing.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Notes: #10 in the Sophie Kimball Mystery Series with the authors providing necessary background.
Publication: November 8, 2022—Beyond the Page
“I’ll be up at the crack of dawn anyway so we’ll be on the same schedule—comatose.”
Subtle, What happened to subtle? This is about as subtle as a sledgehammer banging on a concrete wall.
He opened the fridge and took out an iced tea. “I’ll be floating by midnight but honestly, it’s like I can’t get enough liquid in me. I knew Arizona was hot, but this is, well…” “Like Satan’s living room?” “More or less.”
Dressed Up 4 Murder–Chiweenie in a fashion parade
Dressed Up 4 Murder
Sun City West, a retirement community in Arizona, is the setting for a cozy mystery series featuring Sophie Kimball, an accountant for Williams Investigations. Sophie uses her deductive reasoning skills to help with cases that her boss Nate and boyfriend Marshall are called upon to investigate, often by the county sheriff’s office.
Dressed Up 4 Murder is a combination of humor, thanks to Sophie’s persistent mother Harriet and her gossipy friends, and mystery involving murder, affairs, and seafood. The star of the book in so many ways is Harriet’s chiweenie, Streetman. He competes in a series of doggy parades dressed in themed costumes designed especially for him by Harriet’s friend Shirley. When Streetman literally uncovers a body, Sophie and Marshall are on the scene. Harriet depends on Sophie to solve the case and, meanwhile, keeps Sophie regularly updated on the developments of Streetman’s costumes.
The doggy parade and the banter of Harriet and her friends will leave you smiling and chuckling, while the red herrings will keep you turning pages to solve the mysteries. Do all the threads tie together or are there actually several cases and multiple villains?
I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #6 in the Sophie Kimball Mystery Series, but works well as a standalone.
Publication: February 25, 2020—Kensington Books
…my mother used all of her available time to drive me nuts. Endless phone calls about doggie designer clothes and the Halloween pet parade. I was looking forward to this first spectacle of the Precious Pooches Holiday Extravaganza as much as a root canal.
…I got to enjoy three or four minutes of blissful silence. Until my mother opened her mouth. “Phee is investigating those poisonings. It’s very hush-hush.” If it’s so hush-hush, why is she announcing it at gossip’s epicenter?”
By now I was getting really antsy, and apparently I wasn’t the only one. “Dish the dirt, Myrna,” Louise said, “while most of us still have our hearing.”